APT Philippines Championships: Lloyd Fontillas promoted to GM; APT Championships bid; John Zicheng Low wins the opener

The APT Philippines Championships 2018 is currently ongoing at Resorts World Manila with twelve days of games scheduled from March 21 – April 2. This is the first of four APT Championships festivals to be hosted by the brand this year.

We’ve got a couple of big news to share. First, Executive Tournament Director Lloyd Fontillas has been promoted to GM of the APT and he briefly filled in Somuchpoker on the importance of this festival. Then last night, the first trophy was awarded to John Zicheng Low for winning the APT-RWM Opening Event. We’ve got those stories for you below.

Lloyd Fontillas promoted to General Manager of the APT

Lloyd Fontillas
Lloyd Fontillas and Jeff Man

Everyone in the Asian circuit knows Lloyd Fontillas. Ever since he became Tournament Director of the APT in 2010, he has been one of the most recognized and highly respected poker figures in the Asian circuit. His grass roots style of connecting with the players has not only strengthened his pulse on the market but has also been one of the main reasons the APT continues to deliver top notch events.

Two years ago, Lloyd Fontillas moved up the APT chain of command promoted to Executive Tournament Director. By that time, he had already invested six years in the APT and was the “go to” person by every player. Last year, his efforts were recognized on a much bigger scale, invited to join the prestigious Poker TDA Board of Directors.

Days ago, Fontillas added yet another title to his belt. In addition to his role as Executive Tournament Director, he was also promoted to General Manager of the brand. From the announcement in the APT website, APT CEO Jeff Mann said,

“Lloyd has been an integral and important part of APT since the very beginning, I am delighted that he will now be taking on the day to day business of APT and guiding its future growth and development.”

The APT Championships bid

APT Championships
APT Championships

Last year, the APT introduced the APT Championships festival, a twelve-day event first held in the Philippines. Unlike the usual APT events, the APT Championships differed in that it offered two back-to-back Main Events in a single series – the Main Event and the Championships Event. This was met with much success prompting a second one, this time in Macau to close out the APT 2017 season.

This year, the APT Championships format is getting a lot more mileage with four of these festivals lined up. The first one is currently ongoing in the Philippines. This will be followed by the APT Macau Championships in late April to May, next one in Vietnam in July, and another in Macau at the end of the year. In a brief chat with Fontillas about the APT Championships festivals, he quoted,

“I received such positive feedback from the players last year and ultimately, it all comes down to what the players want, their suggestions. The most positive thing about them coming to play our APT Championships is that many of these players are true die-hard poker players who travel from venue to venue. Instead of having to fly off right after one APT Main Event, they get to play back-to-back Main Events in one series. They don’t have that extra expense; they’ve checked in, they’ve set their stay, they can play both in a span of nine days.”

“Alike the Main Event, at the APT Championships Event, they get the same treatment, the full stream, walk-through with the APT girls, trophy ceremony, and all our designs that feature both the Main Event champion and the Championships Event champion. And this is open to everyone, you don’t have to be a champion to play the Championships Event.”

According to Fontillas, the APT Championships format may be the future of APT. “This may be what APT is gonna become event after event. When you come to an APT event, you can expect to see a Main Event and a Championships Event. But we’ll see how 2018 goes and of course listen to the players and see where it leads.”

John Low Zicheng wins the Opening Event for Php 485,100

John Low Zi Cheng
John Low Zi Cheng – Photo APT

The festival opened with 280 entries jumping in the APT-RWM Opening Event. At Php11,000 each, the total tally dusted the advertised 2M guarantee to a plumper Php2,716,000 (~US$51,900) prize pool. As the first event of the series, familiar faces were spotted all around the room however when it came down to the Final 8, no major pros made the cut. Taking down the event was a newcomer to the APT circuit, Singaporean player John Low Zicheng.

Prior to entering the final table Zicheng eliminated one of the more well-known Philippines player Jessie Leonarez in 10th place, then railed four more before reaching the heads up round against another local contender, Bernard Chua. Despite Chua’s close attempts at claiming the trophy, it was Zicheng’s for the taking. Zicheng rose to victory with a rarely seen five card spread, diamond royal flush. He shipped in the Php485,100 (~US$9,200) first place purse.

This is Zicheng’s largest live tournament score to-date, surpassing his previous high of US$3,015 at the APPT Seoul 2016 Deepstack event.

Final Table payouts

1st John Low Zicheng – Singapore – Php485,100
2nd Bernard Chua – Philippines – Php323,500
3rd Wan Mei Lin – China – Php224,300
4th Goh Kok Keong – Malaysia – Php161,900
5th Yasuaki Nakayama – Japan – Php121,700
6th Jaydeep Dawer – India – Php95,100
7th John Clyde Tan – Philippines – Php77,400
8th Richard Marquez – Philippines – Php65,500

Article by Triccia David


Triccia David

Triccia David has long experience as a recreational poker player and has been covering poker events since 2010 for numerous outfits. She spent a year working part time with Poker Portal Asia and later became the editor and writer for all event coverage of the Philippine Poker Tour (PPT). Under the PPT, she overlooked content for their website, and produced live updates on all their events. In addition, she served as the live blogger for several other major events in the Philippines. Currently, she is in charge of events reporting for Somuchpoker.

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